A question that arose during a conversation with a fellow mom, from not a very good financial background(read to the end, to know why I said this), “What is Phonics ? Is it a new hype in the education world or is it a new marketing gimmick of these big coaching classes and tuitions???” This led me to analyse the scenario for the better understanding of the current situation.
Well, there are two sides of the same coin, that means there are two perspectives of the same situation, a good one and a not-so-good-one. The not-so-good-one is that, it has become very common to open up Phonics classes in every nook and corner, without having the credibility to do so. So, the person collects some information from the internet, puts it all together, without having the correct knowledge of it and opens up a class to teach children. But, its so wrong, to do so, without formally going through the training by himself.
And the good part is “Yes, Phonics is important in teaching a child to read and write correctly.” But, to this many a few question that, we have been grown up without learning Phonics in our school, and we can read and write just fine, without learning it. But they tend to forget to recall the times, when they had written wrong spellings, and when they had got less marks due to silly spelling mistakes, and when they had to rote learn every single word,without knowing how to correctly pronounce the words and its spelling in order to write it properly. Phonics eliminates that efforts to a certain extent. It teaches the child the correct techniques to code and decode a word, without having to rote-learn it. Ofcourse, there are exceptional words which do not follow the Phonics Rules, and the children have to learn by sight and memorizing only, but they are very few, compared to the whole English Language.
Another misconception is to teach the child Phonics through Youtube videos. But parents forget to understand that Phonics CANNOT be taught through youtube videos, just like the whole education can’t be done through that. Its a humble request to all my dear parents, You CANNOT learn Phonics through Youtube. Please get yourself(as a parent) trained by a proper and credential trainer. Youtube is very misleading and once you teach the child the incorrect sounds, it is very difficult to correct their Articulation. Phonics is not just about sounds but the correct positioning of the tongue against the palate, the vibrations of the vocal chords which result into voiced sounds and less or no vibration into unvoiced sounds. You may think that this is not important but this lays the foundation of correct articulation and pronunciation of words and develop the skill of being a good orator.
Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that explicit systematic phonics instruction is the most effective way to teach children how to read. Without it, some children will end up having serious reading difficulties. Phonics – teaching children the sounds made by individual letter or letter groups (for example, the letter “c” makes a k sound), and teaching children how to merge separate sounds together to make it one word (for example, blending the sounds k, a, t makes CAT). This type of phonics teaching is often referred to as “synthetic phonics”.English has a complicated spelling system. It is important to teach letter sound mappings in a systematic way, beginning with simple letter sound rules and then moving onto more complex associations. The term “phonics” has been used quite loosely by several reading programs, with some straying from these fundamental principles. For example, some programs, teach phonics by asking children to guess unfamiliar words using cues, such as the meaning of a word gleaned from sentence context. Other programs ask children to look at words (for example, pig, page, pen all start with the same sound) and learn letter-sound rules by analysing or making comparisons between those words (analogy or analytical phonics). These programs are not as effective as those focusing on letter-sound knowledge taught in an explicit and systematic fashion.
Will it really improve reading?
So will more effective phonics instruction really help to improve these ?
Of course, reading effectively (whether to learn or for pleasure) is not just about phonics or having a decent store of single words.
Functional reading requires several other skills such as good vocabulary, the ability to extract inferences, and synthesise and hold information in memory across several sentences. But if your single word reading is not efficient, comprehension is going to be dramatically affected. Effective phonics instruction is important because letter-sound knowledge is the foundation needed to build up reading and writing abilities.
So, investing in yourself and your child is very essential , if you want to have good and less stressing path in your child’s academics. Give your child the right tools and he will be good in Academics. Happy Learning!!
If you want to learn Phonics, and need a complete Curriculum to teach your children, check out our flagship “The Reading Classroom – Online Phonics Program for Parents and Teachers” here.
I am sure this program will be an immediate boost in your confidence and positivity to teach your child at the comfort of your home. If you follow my suggestions , you may also see changes in your child’s reading. You may discover the reasons of some reading and writing errors that your child is making. And you will be better equipped to deal with them in more educated manner.